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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2015 California Gold Ribbon Schools Award Recipients – Honoring outstanding, innovative schools throughout California 

DISCOVERY BAY—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Tuesday that Excelsior Middle School has been honored as a recipient of the state’s new Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program, which is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program.  It is the only middle school in Contra Costa County to receive the honor.

Excelsior Middle School is certainly counting this as a long-awaited feather in their cap, as the school has been trending on an upward path for several years, thanks to fresh administration and concepts, a united staff and involved student/family/community.  State testing scores have made enormous jumps and school pride is at an all-time high.

“These (Gold Ribbon) schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching,” Torlakson said. “They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right—embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching, and creating a positive school climate.”

The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment and accountability systems.

Schools applied for the award based on a model program their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The new award is recognizing middle and high schools this year and elementary schools in 2016.

The Gold Ribbon awards recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. These include, the California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.

Local high schools also received the Gold Ribbon award, including both Liberty and Heritage High Schools in Brentwood and Freedom High School in Oakley.

The Gold Ribbon schools will be recognized later this month during regional ceremonies held in Sacramento, San Diego, Visalia, and San Francisco.